I’d seen pre-release listings for this game at the Humble Store some time ago, and at one point decided to grab it. Might have been on sale, don’t remember.
It looked like a pretty, cyberpunk point-and-click game. I like pretty, I like cyberpunk, and I like point-and-click adventures.
I was slightly less prepared for the almost jarring difference in aesthetic between the high resolution backgrounds, the retro-styled pixel-art characters, and mid-res dialogue portraits.
The audio also surprised me in its atmospheric, almost contemplative quality at times.
Here’s a glimpse of an early sequence (no spoilers, of course).
Yes, if you look closely at the signs, that’s an ideogram of a child holding on to two symbols of a transgender person.
The text underneath reads “FAMILY – Don’t Forget Me”.
And then there’s the club scene.
Gender-neutral pronouns, acceptance of people regardless of type.
Characters aren’t all necessarily human, although it’s not stated whether they’re anthropomorphized sentients or altered humans. In the game universe however, we’re all people.
This is the single most inclusive game I have come across to date.
At first I thought it was pretentious, mixing artistic styles, but as the personality of the world became more apparent, I found myself drawn into it further, the idea that even in a neon-dystopian future, the hate and exclusivity that plagues society now could be nearly eradicated.
Back to the actual game.
The puzzles aren’t too difficult for a seasoned LucasArts or Sierra adventure gamer, the typical “investigate everything” strategy applies here.
You’ll find more often here than those games though, that you’ll be presented with a subtle choice of how to progress. The action you take may seem like the obvious one, and the story will proceed. This does change which ending you will get, and the story route you will traverse in upcoming episodes.
As such, there is an element of replayability here that other point-and-click adventures lack. In later reading about the game, I found that I’d chosen the “hard” storyline via my in-game actions, just by choosing what seemed to fit, not even thinking that other possibilities exist. Design elements like these set Void and Meddler apart from most of the classic graphic adventures.
It’s the first game I’ve played this year that I’d wholeheartedly recommend.
The first episode is short – easily completed in an evening.
It’s sold on the Humble Store as a Season Pass – $12 for all three episodes as they’re released.
(my advice, sit out in the street or by the vendor outside the arcade, crank your speakers, and chill to the music.)